- Welcome interferences: dealing with obstacles promotes creative thought in goal pursuit
- Creativity and Innovation Management
- Volume | Issue number
- 24 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Life often presents us with obstacles to goals and the work arena is no exception. Two studies examined whether dealing with such obstacles promotes creative thought in goal pursuit. In Study 1, thinking about how to reach a goal with (versus without) an obstacle led participants to broaden especially goal-relevant categories, which suggests that people first and foremost open up to more unusual means when tackling an obstacle. Moving beyond a passive broadening of categories, thinking about how to reach a goal with (versus without) an obstacle in Study 2 also led participants to actively generate more original means. Together these findings suggest that people's basic cognitive responses to obstacles are in the service of goals. Theoretical and organizational implications as well as the role of motivation and emotions are discussed.
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